Rental Car Cheat @ UNV
Usually when I fly, I rent a car on the ground.  When I am ready to leave, the FBO tells me to leave the car there and the rental car company will pick it up.  So it was not unusual for me to hear the desk clerk say that I could unload right there and leave the car in the rental car parking place.  I did so, and Avis Rent-a-car charged me two extra days for a late turn in.  I called the FBO, and the young lady remembered me well, saying that she would call Avis and assure them that the car was turned in in a timely manner.  
I also called Avis but the desk clerk said he could do nothing until the manager arrived.  I called two other times but no one answered.  I have complained to MasterCard about the overcharge, but they gave me the impression that they didn't have time or personnel to call the FBO themselves.  (That part of the story is still in process.)
My question is, has anyone else ever had an issue with a turn in at the FBO?  I was not defensive about it, but I will be in the future.
11 Replies
Sure enough.  Mastercard sent me a form letter saying that if the merchant had a good explanation, they would close the case.  There was no mention of any telephone call to the FBO to see the truth of a timely rental turn-in.  I will pay the charge under protest and try to spread the word of this dishonesty.
Kevin Show
2 Posts
Thanks for the heads up. I've never had any issues with the FBO when visiting. Did all of my primary training there many years ago but they've always been pretty easy to work with. Usually I'll just grab the crew car or an Uber if I'm heading into town.
I will never rent from Avis ever again, they are cheats and lairs.  We were at MIdway on October 15th and all flights were canceled to Philly.  So, we decided to drive home because the best they could do was Sunday night flight out.
We went up to to counter and the person"Tony" quoted us a price of $530.00 and told us this was the same price if we went on line and did it.  Well, She did not tell the truth but we did not find out until the next day plus she added in the insurances and other charges to run up the bill, on line the bill would have been $288.00 without our AOPA discount.   We are also fighting the billing and the lairs they agent told us.  
I suggest you never use AVIS, to many other rental car companies out there.
We'll let you know our outcome.
I, too, get to join the "Never again Avis" crowd.  Had a rental in Mexico that was turned in to the FBO in the appropriate time by me, however, the FBO did not collect the car until a much later time and Avis would hear nothing about my side of the story, rather gave me the standard corporate mumbo-jumbo from some middle supervisor who offered me some measly bonus miles to my airline loyalty card.  Bottom line, Avis charged me an additional $1,500 for the rental which I paid and walked away forever from AVIS...after 20+ years of loyally renting from them.  Spread the word folks, AVIS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.
Gary Justus
10 Posts
Where an FBO does not have a dedicated car rental desk, I'll drop-off the keys (with a note) where and when as directed after recording the date, time and mileage on the rental agreement  form. Then I'll call the local rental agency and tell them the car is returned to FBO. If after hours, I'll leave a message with that data.  For those caught in the scramble when flights are canceled, I suggest going online to AOPA, or to, if a member, and making a reservation promptly there. Then approach the counter to see what rate you can get. My son worked as an desk agent for the "We'll pick you up" car rental agency at O'Hare (KORD) and he had to walk the line between management's push to "up sell"  politely and taking care of customers. Those customers who were respectful usually came out ahead.  During times of high demand, upper level management and their computers automatically increase prices proportionately. As regards challenging a charge with your credit card bank, it works usually, but doing so repeatedly will soon flag you as a problem customer. Better to work it out with the local rental agency manager if you can. I've had luck doing so with Budget recently at KSYR (Syracuse NY) and KHUT (Hutchinson KS).
Perhaps the problem is you? I fail to see why the blame goes to the FBO or rental agency. Be a responsible renter and assure you properly close-out the rental agreement and include a snapshot on that cool iPhone of the mileage at turn-in. If you are in that big of a hurry, you probably shouldn't be flying.
I flew with an incompetent chief pilot who had this issue often because he never followed advise, to the point that the last rental, a BMW, was damaged, probably by the FBO guys or another pilot using it as a crew car. You have no legal leg to stand on if you don't close out the contract. He lost rental options and from then on I handled the rentals and never had an issue of any type. If you blindly trust strangers with your credit card and rental car you'll have issues.
I recently had the same thing happen, though not at an FBO.  I had a rental due to an accident in which my car was damaged and eventually totaled.  I was given an Enterprise Rental car and returned it on a Monday at 3:00 p.m. at the counter, to their employee.  Amica, my insurance company, later mentioned that the car was turned in on a Friday, four days later.  Apparently this is not uncommon, and in this particular instance my employer stopped doing business with Enterprise and my insurance company was a bit startled that I had absolute proof of when I returned the car.  Shameful.
Getting charged extra days when leaving the car at the FBO has happened several times for me, with 3 different rental car companies.  Beware, rental car rates through the FBO are often higher than dealing directly with the rental car companies.  Also hotel rates through the FBO are very often higher than rates direct with the hotel.
I returned one at the FPO and the FPO drove the car in the exit destroying all four tires. I got a bill about two months later. It was an expensed rental so I still had a copy of the return inspection. I always keep them now for two years. 
Yup, I had to cancel a trip due to transponder issues. I was billed and when I called about the charge, they asked me how the car had accumulated 168 miles. It seems the issue was with the car rental company, as the FBO went to bat for me.